Sunday, September 27

Universal Primary Education (UPE) program – Uganda

The Universal Primary Education (UPE) program, that was implemented in 1997 and required free accessible primary education for all children in Uganda, appeared to be very successful for a while. However, there are still some major challenges in putting such a program into practice.

These challenges can be reduced to five issues.

  1. Children are still forced to provide in own materials to bring (and wear) to school: uniforms, stationary, books – but also toilet paper and even bags of cement. Since most of the children cannot afford these things, they still refrain (or are refrained) from going to school;
  2. Since the villages in Uganda are so widespread, children are forced to walk long distances in order to get to school. But often they do not possess shoes, which makes them having to go barefoot;
  3. The combination of having to walk long distances, getting up early to reach the school in time, and often having had little to eat, causes exhaustion and poor concentration in class;
  4. As school buildings are often not prepared to facilitate the influx of pupils, this results in overcrowded and poorly maintained classrooms;
  5. The influx of pupils, together with unpaid salaries, result in bad work environments for teachers – which works demotivating. Thereby, teachers are often under-educated themselves and unprepared to handle the huge amount of pupils.

 

Issues

Solutions

 

1.      Children forced to bring own materials to school

 

Providing materials – short term 

 

2.      Children having to walk long distances, barefoot, in order to get to school

 

Providing shoes – short term

 

3.      Exhaustion and poor concentration in class because of too little food and nutrition;

 

Provide in meals – short term

 

4. Overcrowded and poorly maintained classrooms;

 

Helping schools to improve their buildings

– long term

 

5.      Bad work environments for teachers – results in demotivated and under-trained teachers

 

Educate, train and coach teachers – long term

 

Though all these challenges should – and would most effectively – be worked out on a governmental level, we know that this often takes too much time, assumed that they will ever be taken care of at all. We want to make a difference from the bottom-up: using a simple, very practical, grassroots approach. By providing in school materials, shoes and at least one meal a day, we can make a short term contribution that can still have a lasting effect. Keeping in mind our longer term goals as improving school buildings and training teachers will help us aiming for a bigger, more ambitious solution: taking the solutions to a deeper level, one step at a time.

 

Personal story – ‘Vision’-page

Thank you for visiting our website!

 

My name is Peter F. Muganda, and I was born in Uganda. I am married to Tineke Heijerman-Muganda and we have two daughters. Holland is now my home, but I travel to Uganda a lot and now, with this dream to uplift the lives of needy children in my motherland, I will go there even more often. I would like to share something about my personal life with you.

               When I was a little boy, I lost both of my parents. As you can imagine, life became quite difficult for me and my younger siblings, but because of God’s grace, I got help at a Christian children’s home where me and other children were taken care of. Despite the care and all the provisions that I got in the home, I still missed someone that wanted to listen to me and specifically advise me or tell me how I could deal with certain happenings in my life. As I grew older, I learned how hard life can be to parentless children like myself. Many people helped me through these hard times. I guess that that is why I want to help other kids too, that face the same tough times as I did. I am committed to doing good too, for the children that are still in need in the communities of Uganda.

I have got so many good memories from the children’s home, but the one thing I consider most valuable, was my education – even though I never made it to the higher institution as I had wished. Education is the key for the development of the new generation, hence the name of our organization: Edukey for Kids.

               We are aiming to provide food and high standard education to poor children. These could be means to break the cycle of poverty that the children – and often their (grand)parents as well – were born in. A well-educated child will eventually be able to manage his or her life and, more importantly, to be innovative and contribute to better living conditions for their own communities. By making sure that this generation of children gets an education, I believe the chain of poverty in our societies could be broken. I realise my dream is ambitious, but I believe that with the help of many people, like yourself, we can make this difference.

 

 

As a founder, my vision is to:

  • Provide basic school materials (school uniforms, books, pens) for children in different local schools that cannot afford to buy these materials themselves. We aim to reduce the costs by purchasing school materials collectively;
  • Work hard, with the help of partners, to raise the funds (school fees) to be able to send more children to better schools;
  • Set up simple but modern schools in different communities in Uganda. This will be done in areas where there are no schools or in places where the existing schools do not intend to work with us to ensure that all kids would attain good education;
  • Make sure that the teachers in these schools are continuously being coached and encouraged, and cared for in a good manner. By caring for the teachers, they will be better able to devote their time and attention to the children in their class;
  • Set up a community centre in Mukono, which will function as an education centre for Adult Literacy Training. It would help to educate people in the community about, for instance, the importance of protecting the environment, healthy nutrition and saving (small) parts of their income for specific goals in the future.

 

Even though there are many other organizations providing and taking care of some of the groups and goals mentioned above, we realize there is still a need for small, grass-roots organizations like ours – close to and within these communities – to make a tremendous difference.

 

Benefits and results

The project participants in Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Mpigi, Masaka and Rakai and the neighbouring districts will benefit from the project.

Participants

Workshop trainings and seminars will help participants to  acquire capacity building, art crafts, etc. This will increase income not only for the participants themselves, but also for the family members of the vulnerable groups.

Family members

More children will be able to go to school – especially the orphans and other vulnerable children.

Health

Better health will be achieved due to the availability of nutrition programs and the distribution of fruit trees in the communities. Better health will also be achieved due to Hygiene and Sanitation Education.

In general

We aim for more people to be able to read and write after getting the Adult Literacy Training Course. When adults learn to read and write as well, this increases their chances to find a job. Thereby, the community centre could facilitate information access, through internet, books, workshops and educational meetings.

 

To ensure sustainability, the community will hold regular meetings to share and evaluate the findings. Its indeed our hope that these activities will be sustained even when there is no more sponsorship. Some of the kids that will be able to pay school fees will cater for some orphans and needy kids to supplement those that will be sponsored by well wishers. The residents who will be involved in the project will be able to continue planting trees, flowers, weaving Baskets, Furniture, Iron smith and other products to sell and earn money for their house holds. The Technical Institute will teach the children from areas that will sustain it, where by they will be making furniture while learning at the same time. This furniture will be sold to sustain the Institute. The same to areas like building and mechanics.

All in all Edukey for Kids has designed a follow up activity of those families which will benefit and then entire community at large.